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Working for and with festivals and events, supporting live arts

Our achievements:

The AFO has been in operation since 1987 when just 6 festivals came together to share ideas and exchange views.  We are a growing organisation, in fact throughout the Covid crisis we have gained several new members simply because we are able to answer questions, point people in the right direction and lead the way in helping our members get through this most difficult period.  Some of our achievements both historic and recent are listed here.

  • Since 1987 the Association has grown from its small beginnings to now over 270 members.

  • We have contributed to major changes in national licensing law (2003 Licensing Act).

  • We have worked with colleagues and negotiated a special arrangement on the licence fee for live performance with PRS for Music.

  • We maintain valuable contact with many other associations linked to our industry like MU, NCASS, PSA, AIF, LN, NAA, CPA and many more.

  • We currently hold the chair of The Events Industry Forum (EIF), a national and government recognised voice of the outdoor events industry.

  • We assisted in writing The Purple Guide and The Purple Guide Lite.

  • We have created a Code of Best Practice which we believe is a good set of guidance for festival organisers.

  • We stimulated interest and put the wheels in motion to form an All-Party Parliamentary Group for Events.

  • During the Covid crisis we helped negotiate a reduction of VAT for tickets sales down to 5% and continue to lobby for an extension of a cultural VAT reduction through to 2023.

  • Working with LIVE (live music industry venues and entertainment), we were able to lobby government for financial support which lead to the contribution of over a billion pounds from the Cultural Recovery Fund to a wide variety of Arts organisations.

  • We assisted EIF in writing Covid Guidance for the Outdoor Events Industry and contributed to the supplementary work focussed on festivals.

  • We have worked with DCMS, EIF and Local Government Association (LGA) in producing guidance for local authorities to view festivals and events in a Covid climate.

  • AFO has launched two new action groups.  One aimed at guiding festivals and events in sustainability issues, (Climate Action Group) and one aimed at providing guidance on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for festivals and events.

  • We hold regular online meetings for members and non members to offer support, guidance and a chance for discussion on any issues that are foremost during our planning cycles.

  • We are currently negotiating, alongside EIF, with the Local Government Association (LGA) and several other key partners to achieve consistency in Local Authority work with festivals and events.


  • John Wirtz, Sore Fingers Summer School

    "The AFO are our voice with government and play a part in influencing laws and guidelines at a level small individual festival organisers can only dream of."

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